Region rakes in £822m investment windfall as tech sector takes off

PUBLISHED: 10:49 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:05 18 June 2019

Norfolk's tech sector has taken off. Picture: Archant

Norfolk's tech sector has taken off. Picture: Archant


Tech firms in the region have seen an investment windfall with an extra £445m being raked in over the past few years.

According to new figures released by the British Business Bank, East of England SMEs saw a boost of 118% in equity funding between 2017 to 2018.

This meant the region saw the highest amount of investment uptake outside of London last year - totalling £822m.

Although the lion's share of this was spent in Cambridge, Norfolk's distinct portfolio of businesses is now beginning to attract its own fans.

Kris Jones, founder of tech accelerator TechVelocity, said: "Norfolk is not as seeing as much investment as Cambridge, but I don't think it's about competing with Cambridge. Our tech and digital portfolio is generally different and we have to accentuate and use that."

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He added: "We have some great tech platforms emerging here, plus the signal to noise ratio is better here than London, so it's easier to spot the great propositions. We're being noticed."

The increased equity investment (investment by individuals or companies buying stocks in a business) has impacted the overall economic 'health' of the region, according to financial experts CYBG.

The consortium, which is made up of Virgin Money, Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank, have said the region's SME health has increased in the first quarter of 2019.

The health check looks at a range of factors including confidence, employment, business costs and revenue.

The East has bucked the national trend of gloom by jumping 5.1 percentage points to a 47.1% rating.

Mr Jones said: "Because of the equity funding boom we have the ability to be more confident, to create aspiration, exits, growth and jobs so we aren't over-reliant on any dying dinosaurs.

"It benefits everyone because University leavers are getting jobs with conscientious, ethical employers, and entrepreneurs have talent on tap to grow using local businesses (who grow as a result). It creates more confidence in our ecosystem both nationally and internationally to create more investment interest. We are at a point where we can create our own self-fulfilling prophecy."

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